Background: Palliative care has been recommended as a means to assist patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in managing symptom burden and advanced care planning. Timing of referral is important because although most patients display a gradually progressive course, a minority experience acute deterioration, an outcome associated with high mortality. Aim: To describe characteristics of IPF patients referred to a specialty lung disease center over a 10-year period who experienced acute deterioration and subsequent intensive care unit (ICU) admission, including frequency and timing of referral to palliative care. Design: Retrospective review. Setting/Participants: We identified 106 patients admitted to the ICU with acute deterioration due to a respiratory or nonrespiratory cause. Variables examined included demographics, date of first center visit, forced vital capacity, diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO), and palliative care referral. Results: ICU admission occurred early (median 9.5 months) and, for 34%, within four months of their first center visit. For nearly one-half of these patients, ICU admission occurred before their third clinic visit. Only 4 (3.8%) patients received a palliative care referral before ICU admission. The majority (77%) died during ICU admission. With exception of the relationship between DLCO% predicted at first visit and time to ICU admission (r = 0.32, p = 0.005), no variables identified those most likely to experience acute deterioration. Conclusion: Due to high mortality associated with ICU admission, patients and families should be informed about palliative care early following diagnosis of IPF.
- advanced care planning
- idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
- intensive care unit
- palliative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine